This site is about time management right? What is time management? In my opinion, the most successful people are the ones who invest time today to create more time tomorrow. They work on mindset, systems, culture and other elements that help to create future leverage. Staying physically fit is one of those time management tips to create greater leverage in yourself. Most people feel that these activities such as staying physically fit take away more time away than adds time. In the short run, maybe short term but there is no doubt in brain science or from personal experience that creating physical fitness builds your focus, willpower and mental stamina in the long run.
I was having lunch with a friend of mine, Suzi. I was telling her about my new move into CrossFit. I told her that I have been working with a personal trainer for years and love it. I know that I need to have someone to be accountable to get the results I really want. I just don’t push myself when I workout on my own. My trainer always has me do those last few lifts that are a bit outside my comfort zone. I love the feeling afterwards and I love the power it gives me mentally. I told Suzi it had become a little stale and I was ready to mix it up.
I went on to tell her how I got started. One of my clients was telling me how much he loved CrossFit so I thought it was time I should try it. The instructors told me that my trial session was one of the hardest classes. I had to do these squats, lifts and arm raises all in one with weights on the bar and some very complicated combination. The instructors said these were created from the lifts that body builders do when lifting in competition. We had to do 15 of them followed by 60 jump rope loops and then do 3 sets of that. It doesn’t sound like much but it was a struggle to get through and I have been lifting weights for a while.
As I sat there telling Suzi about it, I felt my muscles tight and sore all over my body and this was days later. I loved it. It was a fun to do it as a team and a great challenge. The workout definitely gave me the push I needed and wanted. I felt more focused over the next fews days, my willpower was high and I stayed away from the leftover Halloween candy. I felt confident and good about myself. It boosted my overall happiness.
Suzi chimed in and said “working out makes me happy too”. She told me that working out was part of her DNA because when she was a child, she had a problem with her spine and the doctor gave her daily exercises to do. At the age of 5 she had a weekly calendar, she would track her exercise and if she did it everyday her parents gave her a reward. Classic conditioning. 5 or 55 the same techniques work, just the rewards might be a little different.
Suzi is a sole proprietor of her business and she often works alone. She needs a little pick me up during the day to boost her energy and stimulate her thinking. She showed me a cool app called Seven that she uses a few times a day to take a 7 minute break.
Who doesn’t have 7 minutes for a short break throughout the day? If you don’t, you are either telling yourself lies and you know it or you are doing something wrong in how you manage your time and you need to read a few other articles on this site and then come back to this one.
My favorite little exercise that Suzi shared is that she stops a few times a day and does a “Happy Dance” whether she is happy or not. Yes, I said a “Happy Dance”. She imagines something exciting just happened that she is celebrating. A new project won, good news from a friend, a happy customer and then she moves her arms up and down and shuffles her feet for about a minute.
Afterwards she sits down happy, reenergized and rejuvenated. She is happy. This is a great example of how the body tells the mind how to feel after making certain movements, chemicals are released to her brain to make her feel happy. She faked it until she made it. It is scientifically proven that our body effects or infects our mind and Visa versa. Harvard professor and best-selling author Amy Cuddy says “Fake it till you become it. Do it enough until you actually become it and internalize it.”
Not only does this help Suzi be more productive throughout the day and approach her time management more effectively, she has even lost a few inches as a result. She said when she went to the tailor to have some pants shortened, the tailor made mention that she lost a few inches on her waste and hips and nothing changed but her new happy dance. Another benefit of the “Happy Dance” over time.
A variation on the “Happy Dance” is to “Shake That Ass”, another article I wrote about moving and creating a physiological change that boosts your energy. It is all about energy management!
I understand that not everyone is fit for CrossFit but you see we can do a lot less on a day to day basis to get fit and be happy. Just do the “Happy Dance”. Take a 7 day challenge and do your “Happy Dance” 3 x a day when you energy is low. Set your alarm, go outside, in the bathroom, the stairway or anywhere else you feel comfortable to do it and I dare you not to feel happy!